‘Vaccinate to ejaculate’ - Study says COVID can weaken penis

April 13, 2021

The risk of erectile dysfunction (ED) is said to be six times higher in men who had COVID-19, a recent study that looked at the association between ED and the virus has found.

The research was led by Emmanuele A. Jannini, MD, professor of endocrinology and medical sexology, University of Rome Tor Vergata, Rome, Italy. It said that ED, which is the inability to get or keep an erection firm enough to have sexual intercourse, can be both a short-term and a long-term complication of COVID-19.

The study, which has been tagged ‘Vaccinate so you can ejaculate’, has been making its way around social media. Health Minister Dr Christopher Tufton has attached a smiley face emoji to a tweet in which he was tagged.

More than 42,700 cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed in Jamaica thus far, with 18,800-plus of them being males. To combat the disease, which has claimed 676 lives as of Monday, the government is trying to immunise at least 65 per cent of the population by next March.

It is unclear whether the fear of losing strength in their manhood has resulted in Jamaican males lining up to get vaccinated. Meanwhile, local experts say there may not be sufficient evidence to prove that there is a relationship between ED and COVID-19.

Men between 20-35

Urologist Dr Elon Thompson said that while younger men between 20-35 are coming in to be treated for ED, he cannot directly link their condition to the deadly virus without checking with colleagues to see if they are seeing similar patterns.

The study was published on March 20 in the journal Andrology. The preliminary numbers also indicated that men with ED are more than five times more likely to have COVID-19. But Thompson said the research needs more work.

“You are going to have to look at persons of a similar age group, socio-economic status, serious illnesses that could also be contributing to ED. You are going to then look at that group and compare them with persons who have COVID and those who don’t and then you follow them over a period of time and see what happens and this is the only way one can really make a distinction that COVID-19 can cause erectile dysfunction,” he said.

Psychologist and sexologist Dr Sidney McGill said scientists are still learning about the virus and as a result, he is somewhat certain that the research was not properly done.

“I don’t think it (ED) is purely a disease problem. We need to recognise that there is the social and intimate implications with the lockdowns and restrictions. A lot of men use work, bar and other places outside of the home as a form of distraction of the stress from home,” he said. “Now it is harder for them to function so a lot of them are going to have ED because they have long-standing relational issues with their partners.” He opined that COVID-19, its socio-economic challenges, and several other factors may contribute to ED.

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